Women’s Division 2 – Grand Final
(PH 3.3.21 defeated by Penrith Rams 3.1.19)
Grand final day had finally arrived, and the girls were all extremely excited! Coming up against Penrith who finished 3rd in the regular season but had made an impressive run into the finals, we knew it would be an extremely tough contest from the outset. There was a strong breeze on the day, heading up the hill end, so scoring down the carpark end was going to be difficult.
First quarter we lost the toss and were going against the breeze. The game started and already it was a tight contest and extremely physical, with 6 ball-ups still in the centre square before either team could get a clearance. Penrith had the momentum and were sending the ball in long with the wind. Our defence held up with great scramble from Alex Williams, Steph Martin and Kelly Chapman. We finally managed to clear the defence and spread the game, and Ash Grubba kicked a goal against the wind and the run of play. Quarter ended, and against the breeze, we managed to lead 6-1.
The second quarter was more of the same, congested on the wing and a lot of tackling pressure. Emily Carroll and Emily Lewis were tackling machines, making it hard for Penrith to get a clean clearance. We tried our best to open the ground up and use our wingers but the wind kept pushing the ball back into the congestion. Amy Court and Sophia Wall were breaking lines and surging us forward. Off a behind, we managed to get a turnover and Ash Grubba again converted to put us 2 goals in front. At the main change, we lead 14-1.
The third quarter saw Penrith come out like a bull out of a gate. They made some changes in the midfield and it proved effective, kicking a goal within the first 10 seconds of the quarter. 2 minutes later, they kicked another and we held onto a 1-point lead. We couldn’t get the ball even close to our forward 50 and our midfield had started to lose some of the dominance. Penrith had turned up and we were under real pressure. Late in the quarter, they kicked another and now lead by 5. The siren went and we had 20 minutes to get this lead back. We had the breeze in our advantage, and we were there to win.
Final quarter was down to the wire, scrappy and congested, Penrith flooding back to try and preserve their lead. We bombarded them but to their credit they kept strong in the backline and we couldn’t score. Time after time, they managed to clear the ball or get a stoppage. Finally, off the back of a ruck contest in the forward line, Eliza McDonald punched the ball back into the hot spot, Bella Nash picked it up, broke two tackles and snapped a fantastic goal. The crowd rose as one and we had the lead back by a point with about 5 minutes to go. We went down into the forward line again and kicked a point. Penrith cleared out the open side of the field and were making a run into their forward line, Lisa Maynard making a holding the ball tackle that stopped nearly a certain goal. It was the match winner. They came at us again, but it was all too late, the siren blew and we had held on 21-19.
A fantastic show of grit by the girls to come back and win, and an amazing game to watch. Credit to all the girls for such a magnificent season and a premiership to top it off! To finish minor premiers and to then have the pressure to go on and win is a great achievement. It is also the first women’s premiership for Pennant Hills so a big milestone to have achieved.
Jed Corbett – Women’s Division 2 Coach
Best Players – Sophia Wall, Emma Richards, Emily Lewis, Emily Carroll, Amy Court, Ashleigh Grubba
Goal Scorers – Ashleigh Grubba 2, Bela Nash 1